888Poker has been one of the top-tier online poker destinations for more than a decade, and is currently ranked the second largest network in the world. However, with traffic idling at status quo for the last two years, the operator refurbished its business model by integrating a new 888Live Local Series format, and according to one manager, it’s been a splendid success.
The 888Live Local Series was a strategic development integrated in January 2015 with the intention of sparking new growth in the online sector. For many years, 888Poker has sponsored third-party poker events all over the world—everything from the WSOP, to the Battle of Malta, to SuperStack events—but it wasn’t having a palpable impact on the site’s traffic conversion. Instead, the Gibraltar-based online poker operation decided to invest in its own series of live poker events, catering to the online site’s predominantly recreational market.
For the last six months, 888Live Local events have been held at major casinos all over the eastern hemisphere, including Australia, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Portugal , Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the UK.
Each series hosts numerous events for one full weekend, with low buy-ins that just about anyone can afford. The idea was to attract the attention of the live and online poker community by delivering an inexpensive, poker-oriented form of entertainment that incorporates the ability to win handsome cash prizes, while still catering to the operator’s more experienced grinders.
Events Operations Manager for 888Live, Mouhcine Jalili, recently spoke to PokerNews about the success of the newly adopted 888Live Local Series. “Let’s simply have a look at the numbers,” said Jalili.
“Back in January, we thought we could generate approximately $1 million in prizes across more than twenty events. Right now, after only ten events,” Jalili explained, “we have already generated between $1.2 and $1.3 million.”
In order to accommodate all player types, the 888Live Local events are designed to deliver what Jalili refers to as a “threefold” approach to live events. “We have the 888live Local events running in many of the markets we work in plus in some other ‘interesting’ ones like Estonia. We have the 888live events, and then we still have a number of sponsorship deals for some of the world’s top events like the WSOP.”
Because 888Poker is responsible for all aspects of 888Live Local Series events, online players can rest assured there are myriad qualifiers available to win a seat in 888Live events. In fact, 888Poker online is hosting freeroll competitions all year long to award seats in its each of its 888Live Local events.
Jalili described the company’s goal in giving away so many free seats as a way to encourage recreational online poker who’ve never participated in a live event, but are curious as to what it’s like, to have that opportunity to spread their wings.
The 2015 888Live Local Series calendar includes 25 events targeting recreational players with low buy-ins tournaments, such as the series that took place at Olympic Casino in Tallinn, Estonia from June 25-28. That romp included three NLHE events – a €25+€2 NLHE Satellite to the €200+€20 Main Event and a €35+€5 Turbo Deepstack Freezeout.
To participate in 888Live Local Series freeroll qualifies, players can visit the 888Poker online lobby and click the ‘Live Events’ tab.